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The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing Paperback – Sep 22 2010

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The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing + The Big Book of Health and Fitness: A Practical Guide to Diet, Exercise, Healthy Aging, Illness Prevention, and Sexual Well-Being + The Maffetone Method:  The Holistic,  Low-Stress, No-Pain Way to Exceptional Fitness
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (Sept. 22 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616080655
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616080655
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 0.3 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 640 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Dr. Philip Maffetone is an internationally recognized researcher, educator, clinician, and author in the field of nutrition, exercise and sports medicine, stress management, and biofeedback. He was named “Coach of the Year” by Triathlete Magazine and honored by Inside Triathlon magazine as one of the top twenty most influential people in endurance sports worldwide. He is the author of more than a dozen books on sports, fitness, and health.

Mark Allen is six-time winner of the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've really only been consistently applying the method in this book for about 2-3 months using a treadmill and indoor bike (including 3 weeks of being sick and doing nothing). Most of my previous running (5 years off and on) was likely mostly in the anaerobic zone since I used to not wear the heart rate monitor, and the method in this book has definitely highlighted my lack of aerobic fitness. Previously, I managed to complete a 20:00 minute 5 KM but couldn't seem to improve from there and got injured frequently. I definitely feel better and sleep better using this method and have fewer injuries for the same amount of volume. Implementing this running method at times has been frustratingly slow and even laughable with the slowness of the pace I needed to run at, and the amount of walking breaks I've needed to take to keep my heart rate down. However, I think I may be on the cusp of seeing some tangible results on my heart rate/running pace as I've just started noticing I have moments where I can run a lot faster at the same heart rate (as Maffetone asserts will happen). In any case, just for overall improvement in health and feeling of well being I will probably stick to it even if my pace never improved. I suspect that any significant improvements for me will come over months and years as opposed to weeks. At least I don't dread my workouts anymore and I feel a lot better the rest of the time. Maffetone gives you a clearly defined measurement to gauge your effort and progress based on his research. I would say this book is probably the best training advice I have ever come across.
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By seabags on May 16 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Covers every aspect of endurance training. I wish I had found this book when I started running. Better late than never.
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By brianwc75 on Sept. 4 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very informative and detailed info on endurance training. I also have the big book of health, which is also a great read. Very easy to digest info and quite straight forward.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 95 reviews
59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
The Best Hollistic Approach to Endurance for Life Jan. 6 2011
By Dr. Mark Cucuzzella - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Phil Maffetone has followed up his highly influential works of over a decade ago with a volume not only validated by basic science and research but more importantly experienced and felt by those willing to use the methods. I am a physician and lifelong distance runner trying now to teach healthy lifelong endurance for patients to help them deal with life...not just athletics. I discovered Phil's principles after recovering from foot surgeries from overuse running injuries in 2000. Training slower was a tough pill to swallow at first but as soon as I saw the results of aerobic development in how I felt all day there was no turning back to the "no pain, no gain" approach. Now its "No Pain, Thank You."
With his methods I've achieve a sub 2:35 marathon in 4 decades and we've even opened a small running and walking store in a small rural community teaching his principles ([...]
We are also trying to transform how the US Air Force approaches fitness and help them achieve success in their annual fitness tests and their demanding jobs. This, of course, involves Maffetone principles.
Mark Cucuzzella MD, Assoc Prof of Family Medicine West Virginia University and Lt Col USAF Reserves
107 of 122 people found the following review helpful
A book with some good info but lots of shortcomings April 9 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I want to highly recommend this book and its approach [and I have, in the past, to friends] but I would now hesitate after 1 year with Maffetone. Today, I find myself unsure of the principles and frustrated with the gaps left open within this book. Let me summarize what I have found that I believe is very worthwhile and/or appealing:

* The principle that fat utilization must be maximized for peak endurance performance

* Dietary principles of reducing excessive carbohydrate intake and eliminating allergenic foods (such as gluten) for optimal health

* The appeal of an relatively easy-intensity way to good health and peak performance

As one who'd tried higher intensity training efforts for amateur running and cycling, I found Maffetone's message very appealing. I especially gravitated to it after cutting the carbohydrate in my diet which limited my access to higher intensity training. I tried adhering to his heart-rate based formula to keep my training intensities within the prescribed training band and started, after 3 months, to see slivers of success in training. On the treadmill, over time, I eventually saw a 0.5 mph improvement in pace at the same heart rate. On the bicycle trainer, a 30 watt improvement at Maff heart rates. These changes were very gradual, however, as I train only 3-4 hours / week. In fact, for 3 months, I saw virtually NO improvement at all. Now, I was not a perfect adherent to the principle of NO anaerobic work; I did weight train, but only 2x a week and only for 30 minutes at a time (actual time in the act of weight lifting was likely only 15 min a week with rest-between-sets time factored out). Does this invalidate my results? I should hope that the human body is not so frail that a mere lifting of something heavy a couple of times, on off days, is enough to completely destroy aerobic adaptations. What a weak species we would be. Consider that I'm not training 10-15 hours a week as many, more dedicated runners might be doing. Either way, you should know from where I'm coming from. Maffetone does indicate that he considers any aerobic training in excess of his prescribed heart rate formula or weight training of ANY kind (regardless of the heart rate) to be `anaerobic' work that could interfere or destroy aerobic adaptations. Nevertheless, I do feel that my training schedule, overall, was light enough that I was exercising well within my recover abilities. Nevertheless, my results on his program were modest at best. I sleep well, eat fantastically healthy compared to the average Joe (frutis, vegetables, low carb diet, omega-3s daily, lean meats, healthy amounts of good fats --- you get the point). Even though I did see what could be regarded as "significant" improvement in a couple of markers, I found that very little of this translated during races. As such, let me summarize the issues I've come to see with the Maffetone method:

* The 180 formula does NOT take into account individual variations in heart rate stroke volume or muscle physiology for different sports. Maffetone does not consider maximum heart rate nor resting heart rate to be significant. Instead, his formulas are purely a function of age and a few modifiers that have nothing to do with your heart's individual characteristics. This seems to fly in the face of common sense and science. If you have a larger heart with a greater stroke volume, then you will be pumping more blood at 140 beats, doing more work and feeling a higher level of perceived exertion (and likely have a lower max heart rate) than someone with a smaller heart who, at 140 beats, might feel as though they are barely working. This is why most heart rate-based programs factor in maximum (and some resting heart rate) - the level of exertion for someone with a max hr at 170 will be different than someone with a max of 200. In addition, Maffetone does not consider "perceived exertion" which varies between sports at a given heart rate, to be significant: one Maff heart rate for all. Really? A swimmer should use the same heart rate as a runner though we know that the muscle composition of the upper body is likely very different than the legs (which are designed for long-range locomotion)? Isn't that why you would likely have a higher perceived exertion at a given heart rate in swimming or perhaps cycling than running - different muscle fiber composition? I should think so but Maff believes that the same metabolic demands are being made so the training effect is identical. I dare to say that this is likely to be proved wrong by science but I only dispute it today by my intuition that "perceived " exertion is a real phenomenon that is being ignored by Maffetone. He does not present a cogent explanation for ignoring it other than saying that weight bearing sports produce a higher perceived exertion. Weak. It certainly doesn't explain the difference between cycling and swimming which are both non-weight bearing but generate different perceived exertions. I strongly suspect that more sugar-burning aerobic fibers are involved in swimming given the use of upper body muscles and, hence, the higher perceived exertion than running (which uses muscles with a higher % of red muscle fibers) at a given heart rate but that's' for a physiologist to work out. I don't buy Maff's explanation at all, however.

* There is absolutely no guidance with regard to training volumes for different sports what-so-ever. Inexcusable. On the one hand, we're given, effectively, a simple one-size-fits-all 180 heart rate formula that does not take into account anything substantive in the way of individual cardiovascular physiology - yet we're told that training volumes are largely and individual matter. OK, fine, but can you give me a suggestion for the minimums here? A range? Can I improve at such low heart rates training 3x a week for 30 minutes a day? No guidance. Let me save you some suspense here - unlikely. For a book about `racing', there's an almost total lack of any sort of even semi-structured program regarding durations and frequency for ANY sport (save one small and not very useful example of a triathlete schedule)- just a lot of sidebar anecdotes of people training for unspecified periods of time and having "success" or reducing volumes, when specified, from 18 to 12 hours a week (volumes far in excess of many amateurs I know). While it might vary from individual to individual and given your goals, I think we can all agree that training 1x/week for 1 minute will get you nowhere. So there, that's a lower boundary we can all agree on. Extreme case? Yes - but the point is one can and ought to give a lower limit from which to start a training program to see progress and then principles upon which to evaluate whether volume should increase or decrease.

* Heart rate variations are not thoroughly discussed. There seems to be this implicit and rather impractical notion that you can train up to the maximum prescribed heart rate and just hold it there - as if it is some number that can be reached and held. If my maximum "aerobic" heart rate, as prescribed by the 180 formula, is 140, I can guarantee you it will drift to 141, 142, even 144 and then back to 140, 139, 138 within any given 2 minute period of time - I know, I've seen it happen all the time. At such low heart rates, my body is so relaxed that if I so much as *think* about something a little exciting, my heart rate will spike. How much variation around my max Maff heart rate should be tolerated? We're told, none. So, given the natural variation in heart rate that occurs in training (i.e. I see +/- 3 beats, routinely), best to play it safe and shoot for Maff -3 so as not to exceed it for even a brief period. All in all, at such low heart rates, it is subject to considerable "noise" from your state-of-mind, thoughts, ambient temperatures, etc.

* Mis-use of the term "aerobic". Maffetone clearly defines what he means by "aerobic" early on to refer to that which uses predominately fat for fuel while fully acknowledging that, technically, sugar is burned aerobically as well. Nevertheless, anything that uses sugar, predominately, for fuel, is deemed anaerobic for purposes of discussion in the book. Fine. However, later in the book, he seeks to emphasize the value of his training principles by pointing out that the aerobic system provides 99% of the energy for long distance aerobic events. OK, wait a minute. Now, yes, that's true, but that involves both the sugar and fat burning systems (and sugar burning would actually account for a larger portion of that 99% than fat at higher intensity aerobic events) but he "implies" that it's the fat burning system providing that 99%. Let's keep the discussion about "aerobic" system straight here and acknowledge that the sugar-burning component IS a critical system for racing success as well.

* Results. Bottom line, if you train for modest volumes (read: 5 hours / week or fewer), I think your success will be modest at best. I conducted 95% of my aerobic training with Maffetone principles and, while I've seen some improvement, it was absolutely dwarfed, in comparison, by my prior success with programs such as Smart Coach provided by Runner's world wherein, training at more moderate intensities for most of my longer runs and doing just one speed workout a week resulted in a 9 minute improvement in my half marathon time in just 3.5 months of training (40s/mile improvement in pace). My average training week was only 18 miles/week (3 hours/week) when using the program prescribed by Smart Coach [and I weight trained....]. Compare that to training for 4-5 hours / week using Maff and I've seen - I don't know,....maybe 1-2 minutes of improvement for a half marathon- if you squint. In fact, Chris Carmichael has pointed out in his book "The Time-Crunched Cyclist" that, if you have less than 8 hours / week to train, traditional, lower-intensity programs just don't work for such folks. That's the only guidance I have right now and I would pass that on to those considering the Maff approach.

So, while I think there is some value here, I think a follow-on book with much more specific guidance is needed. Realistic training expectations need to be established based on possible training volumes. Actual training programs should be indicated with clear discussions of "frequency" and "duration" for running, cycling, swimming and triathlons. Different distances could be discussed as well. Given the size of this book, the actual intellectual content could have been condensed to 1/3 the size. That leaves 2/3rd of relative fluff that could have been used to address the aforementioned gaps in concrete training advice and coaching.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
THE book for endurance training & racing May 24 2011
By Paul Riehemann - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Maffetone is a pioneer and his methods work. His coaching helped Mark Allen win six Ironman World Championship titles in Hawaii. Dr. Maffetone's 180 Formula for determining maximum aerobic heart rate (MAHR), coupled with his maximum aerobic function (MAF) test are the foundation for an effective training and racing program. Since I started following his methods, my race times have dropped, injuries are very rare and my overall health has improved.

The information on 'carbohydrate intolerance' and Dr. Maffetone's Two-Week Test are priceless. I've completed the Two-Week Test and experienced the benefit of more even energy levels and reduced belly fat. Why do we eat so many refined carbohydrates and so much sugar anyway? Stop it for two weeks (based on the protocol outlined), see how you feel and how much weight you lose, and then decide how you want to eat. Dr. Maffetone also details how eating fewer refined carbs and less sugar will improve your training and racing. But don't take my word for it - the MAF test (running a set course at MAHR) will provide you with the results.

Results: at age 29 I qualified for the Ironman in Hawaii and completed the race in 10:37. Several years later I started using Dr. Maffetone's methods and competed in races up to ½ Ironman in length. (This book includes the information from two of Dr. Maffetone's earlier titles, Training for Endurance and Eating for Endurance.) At age 43 I qualified for Hawaii again and set a goal of beating my previous Hawaii time. I completed the race in 10:19. This would not have happened without Dr. Maffetone's methods.

I give this book to the triathletes I coach and it is the basis for our work together. The key is that athletes feel and see the results; this is motivating. "The Big Book" truly is THE book for faster race times, reduced body fat and better overall health.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Buy a heart rate monitor and work slower April 23 2013
By P. Shaw - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
That's what 90% of this book's information revolves around, so if you are going to use his methods, understand that you will need one, and that you will be monitoring all of your workouts.

There is a lot of other information in the book, and he has added a lot of anecdotes from individuals that have used his methods and had success, so whatever your sport or activity, if you are doubting what he says, others have too, but doing it his way has given them great results. Just about every person that gives you their story basically says "I thought there was no way this would work, it sucked and I thought that I was losing my speed and ability, and in the end I was not only faster, but I had fewer injuries."

I just want you to be mentally prepared for the fact that if you buy this book, and are going to use his methods, you should understand that buying a heart rate monitor is mandatory.

Also, there aren't really any pictures or charts that are better in the print version than the kindle version, so if you are trying to decide if the hard copy is worth it, you can get the kindle without losing anything.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
The Endurance Lifestyle... Sept. 10 2010
By D. Low - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dr. Phil Maffetone is a legend in the world of triathlon and endurance sports. His eloquent writing style is entertaining and instructive with proven results (6X World Champion Mark Allen). This book is not only suitable for the entry-level endurance runner, cyclist, swimmer or triathlete, but will bring breakthrough levels of performance to the intermediate and elite-level athlete.

The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing is the ultimate reference book for all endurance athletes, or, quite frankly, anyone seeking to achieve a healthy, fit lifestyle.

I rate this book a **Strong Buy** and long-term Core Holding in everyone's library.